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Don’t Wait to Get Your ‘Life Planning’ Documents in Order

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging

If you wait too long, it’s too late. That’s the advice of Karen C. Buck when it comes to finalizing your life planning documents, such as wills, advance directives and powers of attorney.

“We call it life planning, not estate planning, because we encourage everyone, particularly older people, to be thinking about planning for their lives, their financial well-being, their health care and their decision making, especially when they’re able to make their own decisions,” said Buck, executive director at the SeniorLAW Center in Center City.


The loss of homes, or the possible loss of homes, through what she called “tangled titles,” is something that Kathy Ochroch has worked on as a partner and director of pro bono services at the Blank Rome law firm.

What typically happens, Ochroch said, are situations where someone is living in their parents’ or their grandparents’ home, which is what was intended. But it was never left to them properly because it was never properly probated for them.

“Philadelphia has a very high percentage of people who own their homes but who are still low-income. Often they think that they don’t need to have these documents. But the truth is, we have a terrible problem with tangled titles, homes that are not being passed properly to the next generation.

“By doing these documents properly and making sure that someone’s wishes are known and followed through upon, we can make sure that these properties, which are still valuable to families, are passed properly to the next generation as the homeowner wishes them to be.”

Ochroch also recommends preparing a financial power of attorney document.

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“Don’t Wait to Get Your ‘Life Planning’ Documents in Order,” by Jay Nachman was published in the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging on December 2, 2021.